Recently, Jordan Robinson asked us to share his work with all of our wonderful followers. We’re always happy to support authors in whatever way we can. This is an excerpt from his forthcoming novel, which can be found here: https://eternityacts.wordpress.com. We want to wish Jordan good luck, and wish our followers happy reading!
I was taken from my home roughly six years ago and put to work. Officially, I am F62 of the Trading Union Trash Unit. The “trading” this Union participates in is human trafficking; I am a slave. My birth name was Jochro, although no one within hundreds of miles knows me by that. I work 10 hour days, and they certainly would be longer if the Union controllers didn’t have to worry about us changing at sunset.
Work today had led my unit to the outskirts of Ikalga and, due to the upcoming coronation of the new king, we had been granted permission to return home early. Usually, I would never complain about stopping prematurely, but I was in no rush to be anywhere near the King – old or new. King Rayon had finally settled on a successor. On the way home, I had overheard someone from the sanitation department mention that Rayon was a former Whisperer, beings of great power, though, few knew exactly the extent of that power. I had heard many things about them, but I suppose Whisperers weren’t immortal – I had no doubts Rayon would have kept the crown if that were the case.
I had always wondered if our accursed, nightly changing was Rayon’s doing. If he was responsible, what was the purpose of inflicting this suffering upon his people? Only a Whisperer would have been able to harness enough power to create the acts imposed on the citizens since the settling of Ikalga.
Having reached the square, I was left waiting for the ceremony to begin. That is until I caught sight of the work unit’s bully, Rex, grinning slyly in my direction. The huge, solid mass of a man crept in my direction, igniting my ever-growing frustration toward him. He was unable to keep to himself, and today was no different. I spied him slowly altering his path until he would eventually intersect mine; I could tell he was up to no good. I groaned inwardly as I saw the caravan controllers following him closely in my periphery. With the festivities today, the controllers were under orders to keep a strict schedule. After all, no one wanted the Village Square overrun with changed villagers. The controllers were employed by the Trading Union based solely on how cruel their form was. They were also rumored to have the ability to force-change during the day. Bears, wolves, and lions? No thanks, I’ll pass.
Needless to say, I altered my course and began walking parallel to Rex. I wanted to avoid giving him an opportunity to inconvenience me and avoid giving the controllers a reason to pen me. I had managed to avoid being penned for a few months, despite the Trading Union’s eagerness to treat us more like animals than we already were. More importantly, avoiding the pen meant avoiding getting struck by one of the controller’s special issue sabers. The dreadful sabers were coated with either harvested poisons or tranquilizers, depending on your luck that day.
But did any of this occur to Rex? Of course not. Just as I thought I had reached a point far enough away from him, I felt a snag on my heel and tumbled forward. In a failed attempt to regain my balance, I fell and landed on top of a pair of legs.
“Hey!” yelped a meek voice as I laid on the ground in a heap.
I looked up from my position. “I’m sorry… I was just…” I had no idea what to say. I didn’t dare blame Rex for my own clumsiness but at the same time, I didn’t dare draw the attention of the controllers to this situation. I chose instead to roll over and attempt to rise. As I was regaining my footing, I noticed the meek voice of the bulldozed victim belonged to Anya, a petite, dark-skinned, middle-aged woman who was in my unit.
“I’m so sorry,” I rubbed the back of my head sheepishly, “We ended early to celebrate the king’s coronation but I’m still exhausted, it seems I can’t keep one foot in front of the other.”
“It’s cool,” she began, “Just please watch where you’re going next time. I don’t want any trouble, especially not today…” She half smiled and continued on her way.
I sighed with relief, now becoming aware of a crowd beginning to circle around me. A tall, lanky redhead from the group slithered over to me. “You know we usually mind our own business around here, right F62? We don’t want trouble but when you start messing with our crew’s women, we can’t really turn a blind eye to that, now can we?”
I was in trouble. “No, I guess you can’t but-“
“No, we can’t,” he continued. About half a dozen guys from the unit gathered in a makeshift circle around me – I had about 12 words until something started.
“It was an accident, have I ever started anything? You know me! Hillis, Geppetto, come on…” I groaned and pleaded with my eyes. Hillis, attempting to avoid any undue difficulty, shrugged and turned away. I couldn’t blame him.
I knew the fight was inevitable; I just didn’t know where the first strike would come from. I tried to focus in on the area surrounding me, though I didn’t dare close my eyes for full immersion into my senses. Focusing like this had sometimes helped me avoid some close calls in the past – the girder incident, the wild boar incident, and even the explosion of the caravan two summers ago. I attributed those near misses to my highly acute senses, though I preferred thinking of myself as just very in tune with my surroundings.
Geppetto’s fist came from behind. I barely managed to hop out of his reach as his fist grazed the back of my jacket. I turned to face him raising my fists; keeping my head on a swivel. I approached and feigned a right hook. As Geppetto brought his arm up to block, I utilized the opening to jab his gut with my left. I then turned to the others; I couldn’t afford to focus on just one opponent or I’d be quickly overwhelmed. Rex approached me next. He didn’t seem to have much of a strategy, so predicting his actions would be tough. He began to charge me, holding his hands out to grab me when he got within a few paces; he was going for a tackle. I was hardly prepared for that so I dove to my right, hoping to avoid most of his assault. All but my legs evaded him. It was at this point Geppetto came back for seconds, this time with an accomplice. Before I could stand up, both men dove on me. Geppetto attempted to return the jab to my stomach while his cohort held my arms defenseless. Geppetto landed a few shots before I managed to scramble free of the second man’s grasp, giving a parting kick to Geppetto’s face. It had been less than a minute into the fight and I had already been on the ground, dealing only one guy damage – this was going well…
I had to stop pretending I knew what I was doing. I wasn’t going to win this encounter, but I would try to take down as many of my assailants as I could. I rose up and jumped to where Geppetto’s partner was still collecting himself. I gave him a swift kick to the midsection before turning and landing a punch to Geppetto’s face, who was still recovering from the kick I had gifted him earlier. That would incapacitate them for at least a few seconds. If I didn’t know what I was doing, neither did they. We were glorified garbage men for heaven’s sake; we had no time to learn how to fight.
Rex had soon recovered from his failed charge, approaching me more slowly this time. His chest was rising and falling rapidly, giving away his exhaustion. This time, I initiated the charge. I closed the distance between us, throwing my remaining energy into a right hook. He staggered backward as I managed to catch a portion of his face. He went to return fire but suddenly stumbled back and collapsed. I glanced around and noticed that everyone else in the circle had also fallen to the ground. Then, I saw the controllers. Only a pair of them, but both of their sabers were aimed directly at me. I held up my bruised hands in protest but I felt an impact on my shoulder and was unconscious before I hit the ground.
First Chapter of the Main Storyline from